Real Estate Perspectives

How to invest in office?

9th May 2023

The Australian office market has long been an attractive real estate asset class, drawing significant investment capital from both institutional and private investors. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the office asset class, highlighting key demand drivers, demographic influences, and changing office use trends. Investors can leverage this information to make informed decisions in the dynamic world of office real estate.


Office buildings are defined as structures with at least 75% of their interior space designated for office use. These buildings can be categorized into two main types: central business district (CBD) and suburban locations. Office properties are graded as Class A, B, or C based on various factors, including age, quality, amenities, rent, and location.

Demand Drivers: Understanding the demand drivers is vital for office investors, impacting occupancies, rental rate growth, and new construction. The most significant driver of demand in the office sector is job growth, with a strong correlation between employment expansion and positive absorption of office space. Business and professional services, information technology employment, and finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) users also contribute to demand fluctuations in the office market.

Different companies and industries have diverse criteria when selecting office spaces that meet their needs, such as location, cost, amenities, infrastructure, and branding. This diversity creates demand for various types of office properties, presenting unique investment opportunities.

Demographics: Demographics, especially the preferences of millennials, play a crucial role in shaping office demand. As millennials become the largest segment of the workforce, their preferences are influencing office location decisions. Modern offices now resemble professional living rooms, accommodating amenities like bike parking, locker rooms, coffee bars, and energy-efficient buildings.

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Changes in Office Use: The rise of co-working spaces has become mainstream in recent years, presenting both opportunities and challenges. With COVID-19 affecting work dynamics, traditional offices may yield space to remote work and more flexible leasing models. Forward-looking office investors are exploring co-working spaces to appeal to today's knowledge workers and provide flexibility.

Office Rents and Risks: Office rents are influenced by factors such as location, amenities, and special features in leases. Office leases tend to be longer-dated than multifamily leases, mitigating vacancy risks, but economic downturns can impact the office sector rapidly. Evaluating the credit-worthiness of tenants and diversifying tenant bases can help manage risks in office investments.

Predictions for the Office Sector: The office sector is adapting to new working trends, such as satellite offices and flexible arrangements, without rendering the urban office core obsolete. Investors should be optimistic as they explore opportunities in talent-migration and Tier 1 market stabilization. Embracing technology and considering co-working and flexible lease models can enhance office investments.


The Australian office market remains an attractive real estate asset class with a diverse range of demand drivers, demographic influences, and evolving office use trends. By staying informed about market dynamics and adapting to changing preferences, investors can seize opportunities and make strategic decisions in the dynamic office real estate landscape.

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